Instructor kept working while he was under investigation
SUSPENDED JAIL TERM FOR ‘GROSS BREACH OF TRUST’
A DRIVING instructor from Derby continued to give lessons despite having his licence revoked.
Stuart Hercliffe, of Alvaston, was told not to get behind the wheel while he was being investigated for alleged “inappropriate behaviour” towards pupils.
Although no action was taken against him over the claims, he carried on working while suspended, which meant he was not insured.
A DRIVING instructor has been handed a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to fraud and driving without insurance.
A court heard how Stuart Hercliffe was suspended from working over allegations he had made inappropriate comments to students.
Even though no action was taken against Hercliffe following the investigation, he kept taking pupils on the road, despite the fact he was not insured.
Hercliffe, 65, formerly of Airedale Walk, Alvaston, was disqualified from holding his instructor’s licence while the claims were probed.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “This is a sad case because I have before me a 65-year-old man who has never been in trouble before and who has led an exemplary life.
“It is fair to say that you have not been charged with anything in relation to the allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
“But one female was made to feel extremely uncomfortable by you and she was a vulnerable young person.
“You continued to give driving lessons despite having your licence revoked and, as a result, not being properly insured.
“That is a gross breach of trust and the consequences, had there been an accident, do not bear thinking about.”
Felicity Hine, prosecuting at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court, said complaints of misconduct were made against Hercliffe in September 2017.
She said: “Due to serious concerns about the defendant his licence to practice as a driving instructor was revoked but information was then received that he was continuing to give driving lessons. “One of the pupils had been having lessons with him since May 2017 and, on January 10 of this year, had booked another with him. During it he made her feel extremely uncomfortable.
You continued to give driving lessons despite having your licence revoked. District Judge Jonathan Taaffe
“He asked her, ‘have you missed me?’ ‘do you not love me any more?’ and ‘are you not coming with me to my house or hotel?’ He also touched her on the shoulder and afterwards she told her mother.”
Miss Hine said on two other occasions Hercliffe, who gave an address of Charnwood Close, Swanwick, took out students while banned.
She said: “One of them had a lesson and then took their test later the same day in his car but the examiner recognised the car and knew it belonged to the defendant who they also knew was banned.
“And, on another occasion, the defendant left one pupil unsupervised in the car with the engine running for 15 minutes while he went to the bank.”
Hercliffe pleased guilty to three counts of fraud and three counts of driving without insurance.
Judge Taaffe handed him a 16-week jail term, suspended for a year. He also handed him a 12-week curfew, confining him to his address each night between 8pm and 6am.
Judge Taaffe ordered Hercliffe to pay £4,000 costs, disqualified him from driving for six months, and endorsed his licence with eight penalty points.